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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Montenegro-Russia abandonment: UEFA to await full reports

UEFA has said it will await full reports on the abandoned Euro 2016 qualifier between Montenegro and Russia in Podgorica before beginning disciplinary proceedings.

Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was hit on the back of the head by a flare a minute into the match and stretchered off, with the Group G game then delayed for 33 minutes.

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He was taken to hospital, where doctors said he had suffered a neck injury and minor burns, and later told the Russian FA's official website: "I want to say thank you to all those who supported me. I feel fine now.

"Unfortunately these things can happen sometimes in football, but I hope nothing like this ever happens again in Montenegro or any other country."

German referee Deniz Aytekin eventually restarted the match, but it had to be abandoned in the second half.

The awarding of a penalty to Russia after 66 minutes -- taken by Roman Shirokov and saved by Montenegro's Vukasin Poleksic -- caused missiles to be thrown onto the pitch from the stands.

The ball then went out of play, and when a Russia player went to retrieve it he appeared to be hit by an object, which he showed to Aytekin, who stopped the match for a second time.

Fighting between players and staff from both teams broke out, with the Russia players walking off the pitch, followed by their Montenegro counterparts.

In a statement, European football's governing body said crowd disturbances were the reason that the match had been called off.

"The UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying match between Montenegro and Russia was abandoned in the 67th minute following crowd disturbances at the Gradski Stadion in Podgorica,'' the statement, published on the official UEFA website, said.

"In the first minute of the Group G fixture, Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev appeared to be struck by an object thrown from the crowd.

"He was subsequently carried off the field on a stretcher and the referee took the players off for a first time.

"Play resumed after a 33-minute delay and there was no score at half-time.

"The start of the second half was delayed by 18 minutes due to further disturbances, and the match was abandoned in the 67th minute, shortly after Russia's Roman Shirokov had a penalty saved by Vukasin Poleksic.

"UEFA will wait to receive reports from the [match] delegate and referee to open disciplinary proceedings."

Russia, level with Montenegro on five points, could be awarded the victory.

The Russian FA has submitted an official protest, with president Nikolai Tolstoy saying: "We can only regret the ugly behaviour of Montenegro fans which marred the important match between Montenegro and Russia.

"After the match, the RFU filed an official protest to UEFA. We had warned the UEFA delegate immediately after the incident in the first minute, when our goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was hit by a flare.

"The decision to continue the game after the episode was made by the delegate after consultations.

"The Russian team were forced to continue the match, but I want to stress that we warned the delegates and have filed a protest to UEFA. In our view, the match should be forfeited by Montenegro."

Russia coach Russia coach Fabio Capello condemned the "very unpleasant situation" and said he believed the game should have been called off as soon as Akinfeev had been hit.

"We are waiting for the decision of the match delegate," he said. "But in my opinion the game should have been stopped immediately.''

UEFA rules state that if the referee "decides to abandon the match, for example because the field is not fit for play, the remaining match time must be played either the next day or on another date set by the UEFA administration, unless the case is referred to the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body."

The abandonment follows the stopping of Serbia and Albania's Group I meeting in October when a mass brawl broke out after a drone carrying a political banner was flown over the pitch in Belgrade.

Serbia were awarded a 3-0 victory, but both sides were docked three points and fined £78,000, with Serbia made to play their next two qualifiers behind closed doors.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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